The Monster Ball Tour


The Monster Ball Tour
The Monster Ball Tour
A blond woman stands in a metallic leotard. Her left foot is put forward and she wears black heels and sunglasses. Around her, she wears a number of concentric metallic rings which encircles her. Behind her, a number of drunk men are visible, some standing and some sitting. Above the woman the words 'The Monster Ball Tour' is written in white font. Beneath it, the words 'Starring LADY GAGA' are written in white on black.
Promotional poster for the tour
Tour by Lady Gaga
Associated album The Fame Monster
Start date November 27, 2009 (2009-11-27)
End date May 6, 2011 (2011-05-06)
Legs 8
Shows 119 in North America
63 in Europe
15 in Oceania
4 in Asia
201 Total
Box office $227.4 million
Lady Gaga tour chronology
Fame Kills: Starring Kanye West and Lady Gaga
(2009–10)
(canceled)
The Monster Ball Tour
(2009–11)
The Born This Way Ball Tour[1]
(2012)

The Monster Ball Tour was the second worldwide concert tour by American recording artist Lady Gaga. Staged in support of her album The Fame Monster (2009) and comprising a set list of songs from that and her debut album The Fame (2008), the tour visited arenas and stadiums from 2009 through 2011. Described as "the first-ever pop electro opera" by Gaga, the tour was announced in October 2009 after an intended joint concert tour with hip-hop artist Kanye West was suddenly canceled. The Monster Ball Tour commenced four days after the release of The Fame Monster, in November 2009.

A revision of the tour occurred after only a few months of performances, due to Gaga's concern that the original version was constructed within a very short span of time. The stage of the original show looked like a frame, comparable to that of a hollowed-out television set. Since The Fame Monster dealt with the paranoias Gaga had faced, the main theme of the original shows became human evolution, while elements of the canceled tour with West still included in some parts. From 2010 and onwards, the revamped shows had a New York theme and portrayed a story set in the city, where Gaga and her friends got lost and had to find their way to "the Monster Ball". Both versions of the show were divided into five segments, with the last being the encore. Each of them featured Gaga in new outfits, singing songs related to the concept of the segment, and was followed by a video interlude.

Contemporary critics commend Gaga's singing abilities and sense of style and fashion. They were also impressed by the theatricality of the show, comparing it to the tours of artists like Madonna. Monster Ball was a commercial success, with sold-out shows and demand for tickets prompting organizers to add more dates to the itinerary. It ultimately grossed a total of US $227.4 million, from 200 reported shows, drawing an estimated audience of 2.5 million. The Monster Ball Tour became the highest-grossing tour by a debut headlining artist, and one of the highest grossing tours of all time. At the 2010 Billboard Touring Awards, Gaga won the Breakthrough Performer Award, as well as the Concert Marketing & Promotion Award, the latter being an acknowledgment of her partnership with sponsor Virgin Mobile.

HBO filmed a special of The Monster Ball Tour during Gaga's February 2011 shows at Madison Square Garden. The special, titled Lady Gaga Presents the Monster Ball Tour: At Madison Square Garden, aired on HBO and Sky1 in the United States and the United Kingdom respectively. It showed the whole concert interspersed with footage from the backstage, and received mixed review from critics, who found similarities with Madonna's 1990 documentary, Truth or Dare.

Contents

Background

A blond woman dancing in a blue dress, which has small glowing lights on it. She is surrounded by dancers in silver, body-hugging dress with a neon green mask in front Bird's eye view of a stage, showing large scaffoldings, neon signs and a green car lying in the middle.
The original and the revised shows began with a club remix of "Dance in the Dark". In the original show (left), Gaga appeared behind scrim lighting, while the revised show (right) presented a New York night scene.

Initially, hip-hop artist Kanye West and Lady Gaga had plans to launch a joint tour in October 2009, known as "Fame Kills: Starring Lady Gaga and Kanye West".[2] Following the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, West made a public statement that he would take temporary leave from his recording career due to the media and public reaction towards his outburst during Taylor Swift's acceptance speech, for winning the VMA for Best Female Video. Nevertheless, the complete schedule for Fame Kills was released, with the tour set to begin on November 10, 2009, in Phoenix, Arizona.[3] Shortly afterwards, the tour was officially cancelled without any explanation.[4] Gaga addressed the situation at Billboard's annual Women in Music luncheon, where she cited creative differences as the reason for the tour's cancellation. In an interview she stated, "[Kanye] is going to take a break, but the good news is, I am not."[5]

After assuring the public that she would be embarking on her own tour, Gaga officially announced The Monster Ball Tour on October 15, 2009. It was originally planned to debut in London in early 2010, but ended up kicking off on November 27, 2009, in Montreal.[6][7] Rapper Kid Cudi and singer Jason Derülo were confirmed as the supporting acts for the tour, with Cudi supporting Gaga from the beginning of the tour, and Derülo joining from December 28, 2009.[6][8] The official poster for the tour featured Gaga in Versace 676 sunglasses and wearing a gyroscope around her called "The Orbit", which she first wore on the October 3, 2009, episode of Saturday Night Live. The contraption was designed by Nasir Mazhar in collaboration with Gaga's own creative production company, Haus of Gaga.[5][9] The tour's sponsor of the American leg was Virgin Mobile USA, who introduced the "Free I.P." program which offered free show tickets to fans who volunteered their time to homeless youth organizations.[10]

Development

Original concept

"I begin as a cell and I grow and change throughout the show. And it's also done in what now is becoming my aesthetic, which is, you know, it's part pop, part performance art, part fashion installation—so all of those things are present... It's a story, it's me battling all my monsters along the way. I'm playing all the music from The Fame, all the music from The Fame Monster. And the stage that I designed with the Haus [of Gaga] is a giant cube that sits. Imagine you were to hollow out a TV and just break the fourth wall on a TV screen. It forces you to look at the center of the TV. It's my way of saying, 'My music is art.'"

—Gaga describing the whole concept of the original show.[11]

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Gaga explained that she wanted to put together an expensive looking, beautiful show which would be affordable for her fans.[7] She asserted that the tour was a "pop-electro opera" because the theatrics and the story elements interwoven in it were played like an opera. According to her, the design of the show was innovative and forward in terms of creativeness. Gaga wanted to change the shape of the stage and designed one with Haus of Gaga that was "essentially a frame with forced perspective, and the frame is put inside the stage."[7] The stage had a triangular inset, like a diamond, and everywhere the show took place, the dimensions were measured in such a way that the box fit any stage. "So no matter where I go, my fans get the same experience. So often you go into theaters and there's ambient light flying in from all sorts of places, and the audience is in different spots, and the stage is in different shapes and lengths and widths and depths, so this is a way for me to control all the light and all of the different elements of the show," she added.[7]

The theme of the show was evolution and since the songs on The Fame Monster represented her paranoias, while developing the tour she spoke about original sin and demons inside human beings.[12] Gaga said, "So we talked about growth, and that led us into this kind of scientific space, and we started talking about evolution and the evolution of humanity and how we begin as one thing, and we become another."[7] This theme of monsters and evolution played a part in the fashion for the tour, which according to Gaga was "another level from where we were with the Fame Ball. [...] It's going to be a truly artistic experience that is going to take the form of the greatest post-apocalyptic house party that you've ever been to." Although Gaga stated that she was inspired by the things she and West were doing with the Fame Kills tour, she concluded that she did not want to use any of the things that they had designed together. Later, she said that Fame Kills was "the great lost tour", but confirmed that some of the elements of it were incorporated into The Monster Ball.[7]

For the performance of "Paparazzi", Gaga had collaborated with her Haus of Gaga creative partner Matthew "Matty Dada" Williams. She had a different vision for it in the beginning. Dada thought that Gaga should wear her hair braided, which Gaga had never done before. Dada's explanation for the concept was the look of Rapunzel, the fairy-tale character. He felt that "it's something people deeply understand. And when you're wearing sunglasses on a scaffolding piece with a giant alien dancing behind you, I promised [to Gaga] it's not going to look like Rapunzel.'"[13]

Revised concept

Blue lit stage with a large transparent cube in the middle, and smoke surrounding it. a number of people are dancing around the cube, wearing black dress A blond woman stands in front of the door of a subway compartment. She is wearing a translucent short dress, with a white cover on her head and white boots. Behind her, two people can be seen dancing through the windows of the compartment.
The performance of "Just Dance" on the original show (left) had Gaga coming out from a white cube, while "LoveGame" was performed on the revised show (right) decked in a nun's habit, and dancing inside a subway coach.

In December 2009, Gaga revealed that she planned to cancel the concept of the original Monster Ball shows, and start afresh.[14] She felt that the revamp of the show was needed as the original tour was constructed in a very short span of time. Gaga recalled that after West and she split up for this tour, she was unsure if she could get a show together in time, but nevertheless wanted to promote The Fame Monster. Hence she was able to put together "something that, in truth, I never would have done if I had a longer amount of time".[14] The revamp of the tour were planned from the arena shows in the United Kingdom from February 2010. "My team thinks I'm completely psychotic. But I don't fucking care what they think. [...] Well, just to give you an idea, the stage is about four times the size of the one we're on now and conceptually, it's completely different. One thing that has been lost over the past 10-15 years, in pop music, is the idea of showbiz. And this is definitely going to bring that back," clarified Gaga.[14] The main inspirations behind the show were film musicals like The Wizard of Oz (1939) and West Side Story (1961), science-fiction film Metropolis (1927), and the television mini-series Angels in America (2003).[15]

During an interview with London's 95.8 Capital FM radio station, Gaga further elaborated on the changes in the show. She said that the show was constructed like a piece of musical theater. It also incorporated a number of contemporary and old musical pieces, some of them being re-recorded specifically for the show itself.[16] A new keytar was constructed for the show and was named Emma. The instrument was created by the Haus of Gaga and the singer said, "We have this new instrument that I brought to the Brits tonight, 'Emma', which is what I was playing on the stage. She's a hybrid from all these other instruments."[16] During an interview on KISS-FM with Ryan Seacrest, on his show On Air with Ryan Seacrest, Gaga explained that the concert tour was still called Monster Ball, but it had become more of a musical and less of a concert. It had a New York theme at its core; telling a story where Gaga and her friends traveled to the Monster Ball, but got lost.[16]

She explained with Rolling Stone in July 2010 her inspirations behind some of the performances for the revised tour. One of them was the placement of a keyboard inside the bonnet of a car during the performance of "Just Dance".[17] While growing up in New York, Gaga fell in love with a boy who drove a lime-green colored Chevrolet El Camino called Nadine. When she was developing the concept of the tour, Gaga and her team chose to create a fantasy version of the car.[17] She also decided to turn the car into a piano, so according to the storyline presented in the tour, when Nadine breaks down on the way to the Monster Ball, Gaga opens its hood to play "Just Dance" and the car starts back up again.[17] Another segment of the tour, namely the Subway section, was inspired by Gaga's vision of New York, and her fantasy involving a glass subway compartment. During this segment, Gaga chose to wear a nun's habit, which she believed portrayed her as "a Catholic school girl on the run to discover herself, and on the way she finds the Monster Ball."[17]

Concert synopsis

Pre-revisions

A woman in a shiny gold outfit, with golden gloves and a golden headress with two protrusions from the sides. Behind the woman, smoke can be seen billowing around. A group of people stand on a stage in black, feathery dresses and black sunglasses. Prominent among them is a blond woman, with a mouthpiece attached to her ear. Behind the group, a red background can be seen, interspersed with black thorn-like structures.
In the original show, "Fashion" was performed in a gold, Egyptian outfit (left), while during the performance of "Monster" Gaga wore a black feathered jacket (right).

Beginning behind a giant, green, laser lit video screen featuring scrim lights, Gaga appeared in a bulb-covered futuristic silver jeweled jumpsuit[18] with matching eye makeup and mask and sang "Dance in the Dark" as dancers, dressed in white balaclavas and white jumpsuits, moved around her.[19][20] The video screen, resembling an electric mathematical grid, was eventually lifted during the performance.[21] After the song, Gaga strapped a portable silver jeweled keyboard to herself and began to perform "Just Dance" while emerging from the inside of a white cube on a platform.[19][20] This was followed by a brief video intermission and Gaga returned onstage in an off-white costume, that resembled an alien ecto-skeleton, while the dancers wore skeletal headgear. She started performing "LoveGame", which ended with Gaga pointing towards her groin.[19][20] Flames appeared on the video screens,[22] as she got out of her ecto-skeleton outfit. After stripping down to a silver bodysuit she performed "Alejandro", and was carried by her crotch by one of her male dancers, and later lowered onto another one of them.[19]

The section was followed by a video interlude featuring snarling dogs and brooding ravens.[23] The performance of "Monster" began with Gaga emerging in a black feathered jacket and performing dance moves reminiscent of Michael Jackson as the backdrops featured a black bird's wings.[21] She continued with two songs from The Fame Monster titled "So Happy I Could Die" and "Teeth", after which she removed the feathered dress. Gaga then started performing the song "Speechless" on piano, and continued with an acoustic version of "Poker Face".[19] Rapper Kid Cudi joined her then to perform his song "Make Her Say" which contains a sample of "Poker Face". This segment was followed by the performance of "Fashion" and "The Fame", during which Gaga wore a gold Egyptian styled crown and matching body suit,[19] compared to the garment of a viking.[24] Gaga crawled atop her piano during the follow-up songs "The Fame" and "Money Honey",[20] after which she returned to the stage, dressed in black vinyl and nearly nude in a red patent leather bikini, to perform "Boys Boys Boys," backed by a squadron of skinny and shirtless leather boys.[25] During "Poker Face", she wore bondage inspired black leather dress with guns hanging from it and a hat made of muzzles,[26] and pumped her hands in the air while performing the song.[20] This was followed by Gaga sitting on a dentist's chair and spreading her legs during "Paper Gangsta".[19] Another video interlude followed, displaying arty poses of Gaga in gothic looks.[21]

She returned to the stage while wearing multiple donned braided extensions for "Paparazzi". Gaga was perched atop a railing and from each of her braids, a dancer was attached on the stage. A backdrop of stars were shown during the performance.[13] The performance ended with the railing taking Gaga high above the stage, where she faked her death. This was followed by "Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)" as she descended from the top—which signified her rebirth—amidst white lights and mechanical fog.[23] She wore a giant gyroscope around her, akin to "The Orbit" by Haus of Gaga.[26] The last song of the show was "Bad Romance" which she performed in an '80s-inspired white power suit with exaggerated high shoulders and high-waisted pants.[19] The show ended with a video of Gaga getting a heart-shaped tattoo on her shoulder, with the word "Dad" in the center of it.[21]

Post-revisions

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During the performance of "Speechless", Gaga's piano spout flames (left), while during "So Happy I Could Die" she wore a white dress that could move on its own accord.

After revisions, the show was divided into four sections: City, Subway, Forest, Monster Ball and concluded with an encore. It began with a projected video onto a curtain—which contained images of Gaga smoking a cigarette—while a club remix of "Dance in the Dark" played.[27] Surrounded by violet light, her silhouette appeared on the curtain while she performed "Dance in the Dark". Once the curtain was removed and the chorus reached, the New York cityscape and neon lights were revealed.[28] Gaga gyrated on the set dressed in a "futuristic, angular, glitter ball suit".[29] After descending from her fire escape, she poked around in the hood of a dilapidated green Rolls Royce[29] while performing "Glitter and Grease". Upon checking under the vehicle's bonnet, Gaga revealed a keyboard and began to play the opening notes of "Just Dance". Gaga then performed "Beautiful, Dirty, Rich" while scaling various pieces of scaffolding[15] and subsequently "The Fame" where she rose from beneath the stage and played her keytar Emma, wearing a giant red cape.[27]

"LoveGame" saw the beginning of the Subway section, with Gaga wearing a translucent nun's habit, and a skeletal hand.[28] The song was performed with the aid of a gilded subway car[29] and a "disco stick"[15] while her next number "Boys Boys Boys" featured muscly male dancers cavorting in spandex shorts.[15] After a costume change, Gaga burst into "Money Honey" with an extended keytar solo after emerging from beneath the stage as the New York scenery disappeared around her.[15] As she walked towards the Glitter way, Gaga recalls when she was in jail and her friend Beyoncé bailed her out, thus performing the song "Telephone".[15] A piano is then brought in and Gaga goes into the song "Brown Eyes", after which she performs "Speechless".[29][30] This segment also saw the performance of "Yoü and I" in some of the shows; the song was later added to Gaga's second studio album, Born This Way.[31] During this song, she tells the audience about her life as a teen in New York, and how she became who she is today. Gaga and her friends then continue down the Glitter Way, and soon they run into an angel, who plays a tune that summons a twister, taking them closer to the Monster Ball, but landing them in a strange place that they did not know.[28] Gaga sings "So Happy I Could Die", decked in a white dress, that moves on its own accord.[31]

The third segment begins with Gaga returning on the stage and singing "Monster", inside a forest with black, thorn-like trees.[15][31] Her dancers conglomerate around her near the end and Gaga reveals herself to be covered with blood. She then states that the thing she hates more than money is the truth and performs "Teeth", while introducing her band.[15] Gaga and her friends then find the Eternal Fountain, which pours out red colored liquid and Gaga explains that it bleeds for anyone. She starts singing "Alejandro" while jumping into the fountain and singing, as blood pours over her.[15] Gaga then returns and sings "Poker Face". After the performance, she and her friends find themselves in a dark place, and after some dialogue, Gaga's friends run off, leaving her alone to deal with the Fame Monster, a giant angler fish.[15] Gaga starts singing "Paparazzi" and eventually kills the Fame Monster by shooting sparks from her pyrotechnic bra and underwear.[28][29] She then leaves for the Monster Ball and after appearing there, Gaga performs "Bad Romance" while standing inside a giant gyroscope.[29]

Critical response

Original show

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During the performance of "Paper Gangsta" on the original show, Gaga straddled her dancers to a dentist's chair (left). The performance of "Teeth" on the revised show (right).

Jane Stevenson from Toronto Sun gave the concert four out of five stars and said that "Lady Gaga" came across as a confident, colourful, and campy performer. [...] Gaga's success was evident with slick-looking videos, lights, elaborate costumes, dancers, and yes, a band, even if her stage was sometimes left dark as she left to make numerous changes."[19] T'Cha Dunlevy for The Gazette noted that the performance was lacking—adding that the show never reached its peak until the end, when Gaga performed the "real rendition" of "Poker Face" and "Bad Romance." "Better late than never," Dunlevy concluded.[20] Aedan Helmer from Jam! magazine said that "At first blush, it might seem the real driving force behind Gaga's meteoric rise to fame is her hand-picked cadre of costume and set designers—dubbed Haus of Gaga—who seemingly know no bounds when it comes to pushing the envelope of haute couture and the theatre of the absurd. [...] But what really sets Gaga apart from the middling masses of lip-synching Britney clones and Idol wannabes is her pure, unadulterated musical talent. [...] The Lady can sing."[32] Theatre critic Kelly Nestruck, while writing for The Guardian, said "While The Monster Ball has nothing on the great operas or the golden age of musical theatre, Lady Gaga's 'electro-pop opera' is at least twice as entertaining and infinitely fresher than any stage musical written over the last decade."[26] Lauren Carter from Boston Herald praised the show saying "[Gaga] only has two albums under her belt but who cares? Every song feels like a hit, and Gaga-as-star is already taking on Madonna-like proportions. [...] After [the show] at the Wang Theater, fans could justifiably walk away thinking Lady Gaga is crazy, brilliant or both."[22] Jeremy Adams from Rolling Stone reviewed the performance at Wang Center in Boston and said that "Throughout the evening, Gaga [..] aimed for a kind of pop theatricality that might potentially cement her burgeoning status as performance artist."[21]

Chris Johnson from Daily Mail complimented the costumes worn in the tour.[24] Aidin Vaziri of San Francisco Chronicle said that "During her 90-minute performance—not so much a live concert as a meticulously choreographed spectacle—Lady Gaga also evoked Kanye West with the futuristic set, Britney Spears in her heavy-lidded stage movements, Courtney Love with her interminable between-song monologues highlighted by four-letter squelches and—who else?—Madonna for, oh, just about everything else."[33] Jim Harrington from San Jose Mercury News felt that the show would have been better technically if around thirty minutes were lessened from it.[18] James Montogomery from MTV reviewed the concert at San Diego and said that "[Gaga] powered through and turned the San Diego Sports Arena into a raucous, delightfully raw discotheque."[23] Joe Brown from Las Vegas Sun said that "Lady Gaga out-Cher-ed Cher, made Cirque du Soleil and Britney's 'Circus Tour' look like county fair carnivals, and made New Year's Eve in Las Vegas anticlimactic."[25] Ann Powers from Los Angeles Times commented that the tour was "an invigoratingly ambitious show, executed with vigor by its star and her expressive dancers."[34] Jon Pareles from The New York Times said that the tour always provided "something worth a snapshot: a sci-fi tableau, perhaps, or a skimpy, glittery costume. The more her image gets around, the better Lady Gaga does."[35] Alexis Petridis from The Guardian reviewed the opening show of the European leg, and commented that "it takes a certain je ne sais quoi to open your show doing something that looks suspiciously like mime on a rickety metal staircase while wearing an outfit with shoulderpads the size of the deck on a small aircraft carrier."[36]

Revised show

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The performance of "Alejandro" on the original show portrayed sexual innuendo between Gaga and her dancer (left), while on the revised show, she took a bath in a fountain, reminiscent of the one at Bethnal Plaza (right).

Mark Savage from BBC Online reviewed the first of the revised performances in the United Kingdom. Savage described the concert as a hugely ambitious, terrifyingly loud show, "spread over four acts and held together by a flimsy 'narrative' about Gaga and her dancer friends trying to get to a party." He was also impressed that the entire spectacle was put together in just four weeks.[29] MTV's James Montogomery reviewed the first North American performance of the tour in Montreal, Canada. He said that the tour was "packed with more wattage than an overheated power plant and more costume changes than a thousand Vegas reviews, it's the kind of show that leaves you with wide eyes, ringing ears, aching limbs and absolutely zero chance of making it to work in the morning."[15] New York Daily News writer Jim Farber expected that the theatricality of the show might have obscured the songs, but instead felt that Gaga's voice was perfect and the concert actually "pushed Gaga a long way towards her obvious goal – to be the queen of this pop moment."[31] Glenn Gamboa from Newsday said that Gaga "built her monster-sized fame on knowing how to create a spectacle and then having the substance to back it up. For every coat made of Kermit the Frog dolls or headdresses that covered her face in red lace, there was a stomping disco anthem or tender piano ballad to match. That back and forth is the centerpiece of her Monster Ball Tour."[37] Dan Aquilante from the New York Post was critical of the show, calling it "scripted, silly, and tired, right down to Gaga's patter." He added that the 15 costumes Gaga wore during the two-hour plus gig were "more successful helping her cement the notion of an erotic and exotic otherworld."[27] Writing in the Telegram & Gazette, Craig S. Semon was appreciative of the show, calling it "an out-of-this-world blast and end-of-the-world blow-out that must be seen to be believed."[28]

Rick Massimo, reviewing the concert for The Providence Journal, wrote that as a musical theater, the Monster Ball was not that exciting, but "that leaves the music, and when you lay two hours of her songs end-to-end, it’s easy to see the vision, the intelligence and a serious songwriting talent at work."[30] Jay N. Miller from The Enterprise was impressed with the show, saying that the music was somewhere between industrial disco and house music with a rock edge, but "always danceable".[38] Philip Borof from Bloomberg Television reviewed the concert in New York's Madison Square Garden and found it average, calling the crowd decked in various costumes as the "most entertaining".[39] Toronto Star's Ben Rayner appreciated the show, exclaiming "hot damn, that was one hell of a show Gaga brought to the Air Canada Centre Sunday night and suddenly it doesn’t seem redundant to add one more voice to the Lady Gaga choir."[40] Mariel Concepcion from Billboard felt that Gaga "may be best known for her gaudy outfits and over-the-top stage shows, but at her hometown headlining debut at Madison Square Garden last night, the pop phenomenon proved she's a regular girl at heart."[41] The Seattle Times staff writer Marian Liu declared that as "one of the most anticipated touring acts of the year, [Gaga] stimulated the crowd's senses on Saturday night in a way few artists can. She brought spectacle and backed it up with soul."[42]

Commercial reception

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For "Paparazzi", Gaga developed a Rapunzel-inspired performance on the original show (left), while the revised show featured a giant Anglerfish as the Fame Monster, with Gaga trying to kill it (right).

As soon as the dates for the show were announced, there was high demand for tickets. As sponsor of the North American Monster Ball Tour, Virgin Mobile customers had access to presale tickets. Bob Stohrer, VP of Marketing for Virgin Mobile USA said "We are excited to take our partnership with Lady Gaga and The Monster Ball Tour to another level. [...] We'll also build on our partnership around combating youth homelessness and continue to enhance the tour experience for fans and our customers."[43] Shows in the first leg of the tour were sold-out completely, prompting Live Nation Inc. to announce that Gaga will return to the U.S. in February 2011 for another run of U.S. dates. The 2011 dates for the North American Monster Ball Tour were announced as starting from February 19 in Atlantic City, with ten arena dates confirmed through April 18.[44] Additional shows were announced, and Semi Precious Weapons will continue on the road with Gaga until the Monster Ball ends. Live Nation Entertainment's global touring division, headed by chairman Arthur Fogel, held the reins as promoter/producer of the Monster Ball tour.[44]

Fogel commented on Gaga's lack of experience in a tour and said that it was an opportunity for her. "As an artist with that kind of talent and vision emerges, it creates a lot of excitement, and ticket sales worldwide demonstrate that people are really excited to see the show. Over the course of the next many months we're trying to play to as many people in as many places as possible," Fogel added. "It's an across the board home run."[44] Demands increased and another additional six dates were added to the announced itinerary.[43] The Monster Ball sold out shows in Toronto, Vancouver and San Jose who were compelled to add second dates in each city. In Los Angeles, to ensure that concert goers had the best possible access to tickets, a second performance was announced prior to the onsale of the first shows, and both Staples Center concerts were completely sold out.[43] Billboard estimated that by the time the tour wraps up in 2011, it would have grossed close to $200 million worldwide.[44]

The ticket money from the final performance at Radio City, was donated for the Haiti earthquake relief. Gaga announced on the re-scheduled show at Elliott Hall of Music on January 26, 2010, that about $500,000 was collected for the relief.[45] At the 2010 Billboard Touring Awards, Gaga won the Breakthrough Performer Award, as well as the Concert Marketing & Promotion Award, the latter being an acknowledgement of her partnership with Virgin Mobile.[46] Billboard also placed The Monster Ball Tour at position four on their Year-end Top 25 Tours of 2010. They reported that the tour had grossed $116 million from 122 shows, with an audience of 1.3 million.[47] By the end of the year, Pollstar announced that the tour had earned a total of $133.6 million from 138 shows, making her the only woman to be placed in their list of the Top 10 Tours of 2010.[48] In April 2011, the tour grossed a further $5.5 million in ticket sales reported from four performances. The top grosser was Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey with over $1.5 million from 14,809 sold seats at an April 22, 2011, performance. The largest crowd, however, came from the Nashville market with 14,925 in the house on April 19, 2011, at Bridgestone Arena. The tour played the Atlanta market on April 18, 2011, with 10,864 tickets sold at the Arena at Gwinnett Center and closed out the week in New York's Long Island area with a sellout crowd of 13,195 at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale on April 23, 2011.[49] By May 2011, the tour had grossed a total of $227.4 million, from the 200 reported shows, drawing an audience of 2.5 million. It became the world's highest-grossing tour of all time by a debut headlining artist.[50]

Broadcast and recordings

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Both the performances of "Bad Romance" on the original (left) and the revised (right) shows featured a giant gyroscope.

HBO filmed a special of The Monster Ball Tour during Gaga's February 21–22, 2011, shows at Madison Square Garden. The special, titled Lady Gaga Presents the Monster Ball Tour: At Madison Square Garden, aired on HBO in May 7, 2011 and Sky1 on May 21, 2011 in the United States and the United Kingdom respectively.[51][52] Prime showed the special in New Zealand on June 2, 2011.[53][54] The special showed the whole of the Monster Ball Tour, and some backstage footage, which was shown in black-and-white. It ended with another black-and-white backstage scene where Gaga and her backup singers perform "Born This Way" a capella.

After its broadcast, the special received positive reviews; critics praised Gaga's performance, but doubted her sincerity during her on-stage rambling and in pre-concert scenes. They also noted similarities to Madonna's 1991 documentary Truth or Dare.[55] The special has been nominated for five honors at the upcoming 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards: Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special; Outstanding Directing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Special; Outstanding Technical Direction, Camerawork, Video Control for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special; Outstanding Picture Editing for a Special (Single or Multi-Camera); and Outstanding Lighting Design/Lighting Direction for a Variety, Music or Comedy Special.[56]

Opening acts

Setlist

Tour dates

Date City Country Venue
North America[67]
November 27, 2009 Montreal Canada Bell Centre
November 28, 2009 Toronto Air Canada Centre
November 29, 2009 Ottawa Scotiabank Place
December 1, 2009 Boston United States Wang Theatre
December 2, 2009
December 3, 2009 Camden Susquehanna Bank Center
December 9, 2009 Vancouver Canada Queen Elizabeth Theatre
December 10, 2009
December 11, 2009
December 13, 2009 San Francisco United States Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
December 14, 2009
December 17, 2009 Las Vegas Pearl Concert Theater
December 18, 2009
December 19, 2009 San Diego San Diego Sports Arena
December 21, 2009 Los Angeles Nokia Theatre L.A. Live
December 22, 2009
December 23, 2009
December 27, 2009 New Orleans UNO Lakefront Arena
December 28, 2009 Atlanta Fox Theatre
December 29, 2009
December 31, 2009 Miami Knight Center
January 2, 2010
January 3, 2010 Orlando UCF Arena
January 7, 2010 St. Louis Fox Theatre
January 8, 2010 Chicago Rosemont Theatre
January 9, 2010
January 10, 2010
January 12, 2010 Detroit Joe Louis Arena
January 13, 2010
January 20, 2010 New York City Radio City Music Hall
January 21, 2010
January 23, 2010
January 24, 2010
January 26, 2010 West Lafayette Elliott Hall of Music
Europe[67]
February 18, 2010 Manchester England Manchester Evening News Arena
February 20, 2010 Dublin Ireland The O2
February 21, 2010
February 22, 2010 Belfast Northern Ireland Odyssey Arena
February 24, 2010 Liverpool England Echo Arena Liverpool
February 26, 2010 London The O2 Arena
February 27, 2010
March 1, 2010 Glasgow Scotland Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre
March 3, 2010 Cardiff Wales Cardiff International Arena
March 4, 2010 Newcastle England Metro Radio Arena
March 5, 2010 Birmingham LG Arena
Oceania[67][68]
March 13, 2010 Auckland New Zealand Vector Arena
March 14, 2010
March 17, 2010 Sydney Australia Sydney Entertainment Centre
March 18, 2010
March 20, 2010 Newcastle Newcastle Entertainment Centre
March 23, 2010 Melbourne Rod Laver Arena
March 24, 2010
March 26, 2010 Brisbane Brisbane Entertainment Centre
March 27, 2010
March 29, 2010 Canberra AIS Arena
April 1, 2010 Perth Burswood Dome
April 3, 2010 Adelaide Adelaide Entertainment Centre
April 5, 2010 Wollongong WIN Entertainment Centre
April 7, 2010 Sydney Sydney Entertainment Centre
April 9, 2010 Melbourne Rod Laver Arena
Asia[67]
April 14, 2010 Kobe Japan Kobe World Kinen Hall
April 15, 2010
April 17, 2010 Yokohama Yokohama Arena
April 18, 2010
Europe[67]
May 7, 2010 Stockholm Sweden Ericsson Globe
May 8, 2010
May 10, 2010 Hamburg Germany O2 World Hamburg
May 11, 2010 Berlin O2 World
May 15, 2010 Arnhem Netherlands GelreDome XS
May 17, 2010 Antwerp Belgium Sportpaleis
May 18, 2010
May 21, 2010 Paris France Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy
May 22, 2010
May 24, 2010 Oberhausen Germany König Pilsener Arena
May 25, 2010 Strasbourg France Zénith de Strasbourg
May 27, 2010 Nottingham England Trent FM Arena Nottingham
May 28, 2010 Birmingham LG Arena
May 30, 2010 London The O2 Arena
May 31, 2010
June 2, 2010 Manchester Manchester Evening News Arena
June 3, 2010
June 4, 2010 Sheffield Sheffield Arena
North America[67]
June 28, 2010 Montreal Canada Bell Centre
July 1, 2010 Boston United States TD Garden
July 2, 2010
July 4, 2010 Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall
July 6, 2010 New York City Madison Square Garden
July 7, 2010
July 9, 2010
July 11, 2010 Toronto Canada Air Canada Centre
July 12, 2010
July 14, 2010 Cleveland United States Quicken Loans Arena
July 15, 2010 Indianapolis Conseco Fieldhouse
July 17, 2010 St. Louis Scottrade Center
July 20, 2010 Oklahoma City Ford Center
July 22, 2010 Dallas American Airlines Center
July 23, 2010
July 25, 2010 Houston Toyota Center
July 26, 2010
July 28, 2010 Denver Pepsi Center
July 31, 2010 Phoenix US Airways Center
August 3, 2010 Kansas City Sprint Center
August 6, 2010[A] Chicago Grant Park
August 11, 2010 Los Angeles Staples Center
August 12, 2010
August 13, 2010 Las Vegas MGM Grand Garden Arena
August 16, 2010 San Jose HP Pavilion at San Jose
August 17, 2010
August 19, 2010 Portland Rose Garden
August 21, 2010 Tacoma Tacoma Dome
August 23, 2010 Vancouver Canada Rogers Arena
August 24, 2010
August 26, 2010 Edmonton Rexall Place
August 27, 2010
August 30, 2010 Saint Paul United States Xcel Energy Center
August 31, 2010
September 2, 2010 Milwaukee Bradley Center
September 4, 2010 Detroit The Palace of Auburn Hills
September 5, 2010 Pittsburgh Consol Energy Center
September 7, 2010 Washington, D.C. Verizon Center
September 8, 2010 Charlottesville John Paul Jones Arena
September 14, 2010 Philadelphia Wells Fargo Center
September 15, 2010
September 16, 2010 Hartford XL Center
September 18, 2010 Charlotte Time Warner Cable Arena
September 19, 2010 Raleigh RBC Center
Europe[67]
October 13, 2010 Helsinki Finland Hartwall Areena
October 14, 2010
October 16, 2010 Oslo Norway Oslo Spektrum
October 17, 2010
October 20, 2010 Herning Denmark Jyske Bank Boxen
October 26, 2010 Dublin Ireland The O2
October 27, 2010
October 29, 2010
October 30, 2010 Belfast Northern Ireland Odyssey Arena
November 1, 2010
November 2, 2010
November 5, 2010 Zagreb Croatia Arena Zagreb
November 7, 2010 Budapest Hungary Budapest Sports Arena
November 9, 2010 Turin Italy Torino Palasport Olimpico
November 11, 2010 Vienna Austria Wiener Stadthalle
November 14, 2010 Zurich Switzerland Hallenstadion
November 15, 2010
November 17, 2010 Prague Czech Republic O2 Arena
November 19, 2010 Malmö Sweden Malmö Arena
November 22, 2010 Antwerp Belgium Sportpaleis
November 23, 2010
November 26, 2010 Gdańsk Poland Ergo Arena
November 29, 2010 Rotterdam Netherlands Ahoy Rotterdam
November 30, 2010
December 2, 2010 Lyon France Halle Tony Garnier
December 4, 2010 Milan Italy Mediolanum Forum
December 5, 2010
December 7, 2010 Barcelona Spain Palau Sant Jordi
December 10, 2010 Lisbon Portugal Pavilhão Atlântico
December 12, 2010 Madrid Spain Palacio de Deportes
December 16, 2010 London England The O2 Arena
December 17, 2010
December 20, 2010 Paris France Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy
December 21, 2010
North America[67]
February 19, 2011 Atlantic City United States Boardwalk Hall
February 21, 2011 New York City Madison Square Garden
February 22, 2011
February 24, 2011 Washington, D.C. Verizon Center
February 26, 2011 Pittsburgh Consol Energy Center
February 28, 2011 Chicago United Center
March 1, 2011 Grand Rapids Van Andel Arena
March 3, 2011 Toronto Canada Air Canada Centre
March 4, 2011 Buffalo United States HSBC Arena
March 6, 2011 Ottawa Canada Scotiabank Place
March 8, 2011 Boston United States TD Garden
March 10, 2011 Columbus Jerome Schottenstein Center
March 12, 2011 Louisville KFC Yum! Center
March 14, 2011 Dallas American Airlines Center
March 15, 2011 San Antonio AT&T Center
March 17, 2011 Omaha Qwest Center Omaha
March 19, 2011 Salt Lake City EnergySolutions Arena
March 22, 2011 Oakland Oracle Arena
March 23, 2011 Sacramento ARCO Arena
March 25, 2011 Las Vegas MGM Grand Garden Arena
March 26, 2011 Phoenix US Airways Center
March 28, 2011 Los Angeles Staples Center
March 29, 2011 San Diego Viejas Arena
March 31, 2011 Anaheim Honda Center
April 4, 2011 Tulsa BOK Center
April 6, 2011 Austin Frank Erwin Center
April 8, 2011 Houston Toyota Center
April 9, 2011 New Orleans New Orleans Arena
April 12, 2011 Fort Lauderdale BankAtlantic Center
April 13, 2011 Miami American Airlines Arena
April 15, 2011 Orlando Amway Center
April 16, 2011 Tampa St. Pete Times Forum
April 18, 2011 Atlanta Arena at Gwinnett Center
April 19, 2011 Nashville Bridgestone Arena
April 22, 2011 Newark Prudential Center
April 23, 2011 Uniondale Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
April 25, 2011 Montreal Canada Bell Centre
April 27, 2011 Cleveland United States Quicken Loans Arena
May 3, 2011 Guadalajara Mexico Estadio Tres de Marzo
May 5, 2011 Mexico City Foro Sol
May 6, 2011

Box office score data

Venue City Tickets sold / available Gross revenue
Bell Centre Montreal 40,285 / 44,466 (90%) $10,016,362[69][70][71]
Air Canada Centre Toronto 28,753 / 28,753 (100%) $2,506,582[72][73]
Scotiabank Place Ottawa 21,895 / 21,895 (100%) $1,891,532[72][73]
Wang Theatre Boston 7,056 / 7,056 (100%) $4,385,924[74]
Susquehanna Bank Center Camden 7,143 / 7,143 (100%) $4,891,295[74]
Queen Elizabeth Theatre Vancouver 8,220 / 8,220 (100%) $479,149[75]
Bill Graham Civic Auditorium San Francisco 17,000 / 17,000 (100%) $9,840,960[76]
Nokia Theatre Los Angeles 20,559 / 20,559 (100%) $944,680[77]
Fox Theatre Atlanta 8,897 / 8,897 (100%) $489,849[77]
James L. Knight Center Miami 9,365 / 9,365 (100%) $445,933[78]
UCF Arena Orlando 6,753 / 6,785 (99%) $283,886[79]
Rosemont Theatre Rosemont 12,712 / 13,032 (97%) $610,177[80]
Joe Louis Arena Detroit 16,084 / 16,648 (97%) $750,090[81]
Radio City Music Hall New York City 23,684 / 23,684 (100%) $1,360,515[82]
Edward C. Elliott Hall of Music West Lafayette 5,765 / 5,765 (100%) $198,893[83]
Manchester Evening News Arena Manchester 40,327 / 40,472 (~100%) $3,007,033[84]
The O2 Dublin 62,985 / 62,985 (100%) $1,225,970[85]
Odyssey Arena Belfast 10,038 / 10,038 (100%) $426,986[85]
The O2 Arena London 67,795 / 67,812 (99%) $4,618,330[86][87]
Vector Arena Auckland 23,084 / 23,936 (96%) $1,056,840[84]
Sydney Entertainment Centre Sydney 35,460 / 35,460 (100%) $2,533,140[88]
Newcastle Entertainment Centre Newcastle 7,182 / 7,225 (99%) $527,770[81]
Rod Laver Arena Melbourne 39,299 / 39,299 (100%) $2,679,010[89]
AIS Arena Canberra 4,990 / 5,058 (99%) $328,569[84]
Burswood Dome Perth 18,383 / 22,891 (80%) $1,746,560[84]
Adelaide Entertainment Centre Adelaide 9,186 / 9,791 (94%) $629,515[84]
WIN Entertainment Centre Wollongong 5,183 / 5,746 (90%) $349,420[84]
Brisbane Entertainment Centre Brisbane 25,222 / 25,476 (99%) $2,065,210[88]
O2 World Hamburg Hamburg 7,010 / 10,500 (67%) $600,688[87]
Sportpaleis Antwerp 63,759 / 63,759 (100%) $5,255,380[90][91]
Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy Paris 31,474 / 31,552 (~100%) $2,763,340[92]
Boardwalk Hall Atlantic City 26,827 / 26,837 (100%) $3,434,715[93][94]
Madison Square Garden New York City 74,410 / 74,410 (100%) $8,295,034[84][94]
American Airlines Center Dallas 39,501 / 41,619 (95%) $4,334,491[95][96]
Staples Center Los Angeles 44,094 / 44,476 (99%) $5,091,571[97][98]
Rose Garden Portland 13,149 / 13,149 (100%) $1,386,255[84]
Rexall Place Edmonton 28,282 / 28,282 (100%) $2,794,870[99]
Verizon Center Washington, D.C. 29,608 / 29,608 (100%) $3,235,156[90][94]
Consol Energy Center Pittsburgh 14,713 / 14,713 (100%) $1,554,415[94]
United Center Chicago 15,845 / 15,845 (100%) $1,801,457[94]
Van Andel Arena Grand Rapids 11,992 / 11,992 (100%) $1,227,096[73]
HSBC Arena Buffalo 15,512 / 15,512 (100%) $1,580,602[73]
TD Garden Boston 14,361 / 14,361 (100%) $1,525,663[73]
Jerome Schottenstein Center Columbus 13,229 / 13,229 (100%) $1,369,378[73]
KFC Yum! Center Louisville 17,270 / 17,270 (100%) $1,678,962[96]
AT&T Center San Antonio 14,257 / 14,257 (100%) $1,462,754[96]
Qwest Center Arena Omaha 15,313 / 15,313 (100%) $1,606,232[96]
EnergySolutions Arena Salt Lake City 14,385 / 14,385 (100%) $1,313,005[96]
Oracle Arena Oakland 15,913 / 15,913 (100%) $1,563,797[98]
Power Balance Pavilion Sacramento 14,285 / 14,285 (100%) $1,302,951[98]
MGM Grand Garden Arena Las Vegas 14,119 / 14,119 (100%) $1,712,826[98]
US Airways Center Phoenix 14,166 / 14,166 (100%) $1,386,115[98]
Viejas Arena San Diego 9,655 / 9,655 (100%) $1,147,055[98]
Honda Center Anaheim 13,026 / 13,026 (100%) $1,380,353[98]
BOK Center Tulsa 13,710 / 13,710 (100%) $1,322,897[100]
Frank Erwin Center Austin 12,904 / 12,904 (100%) $1,295,938[100]
Toyota Center Houston 13,412 / 13,412 (100%) $1,401,330[100]
New Orleans Arena New Orleans 13,513 / 13,513 (100%) $1,392,998[100]
BankAtlantic Center Sunrise 13,398 / 13,398 (100%) $1,442,679[71]
American Airlines Arena Miami 14,695 / 14,695 (100%) $1,573,090[71]
Amway Center Orlando 13,451 / 13,451 (100%) $1,460,286[71]
St. Pete Times Forum Tampa 15,134 / 15,134 (100%) $1,506,017[71]
Arena at Gwinnett Center Duluth 10,864 / 10,864 (100%) $1,173,392[101]
Bridgestone Arena Nashville 14,925 / 14,925 (100%) $1,485,607[101]
Prudential Center Newark 14,809 / 14,809 (100%) $1,500,885[101]
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum Uniondale 13,195 / 13,195 (100%) $1,393,404[101]
Quicken Loans Arena Cleveland 14,857 / 14,857 (100%) $1,499,897[71]
Estadio Tres de Marzo Guadalajara 29,047 / 29,047 (100%) $2,559,232[71]
Foro Sol Mexico City 111,060 / 111,060 (100%) $6,699,708[71]
Total 1,454,824 / 1,469,682 (99%) $125,201,731

Personnel

  • Promoter(s) – Live Nation Global Touring (Worldwide), AEG Live (UK)
  • Tour Sponsor(s) – Virgin Mobile (US), M.A.C Cosmetics (Worldwide)
  • Show Director – Arthur Fogel
  • Creative Director(s) – Matthew "Dada" Williams, Willo Perron
  • Choreographer – Laurie-Ann Gibson
  • Assistant Choreographer – Richie Jackson
  • Stylist – Nicola Formichetti
  • Stylist Assistant – Anna Trevelyon
  • Management – Troy Carter
  • Finances – TMI Productions
  • Legal – Ziffren Brittenham LLP
  • Hair Stylist – Frederic Aspiras
  • Make Up Artist – Tara Savelo
  • Main Make Up Artist – Sarah Nicole Tanno
  • Video Director – Nick Knight and Haus of Gaga
  • Video Editor – Ruth Hogben, Kevin Stenning (BURSTvisual)
  • Video Programmer – Matt Shimamoto
  • Lighting Company – Production Resource Group (PRG)
  • Live Video – Nocturne Video
  • Lighting Design – Willie Williams
  • Lighting Director – Ethan Weber
  • Dancers – Michael Silas, Ian McKenzie, Asiel Hardison, Graham Breitenstein, Montana Efaw, Sloan Taylor-Rabinor, Amanda Balen, Molly d'Amour, Mark Kanemura, Jeremy Hudson, Cassidy Noblett, Victor Rojas
Original shows (2009–10)
  • Musical Director – Jeff Bhasker
  • Set Design – Es Devlin
  • Set built – Tait Towers
  • The Orbit – Nasir Mazhar and Haus of Gaga
  • Costume Design – Haus of Gaga with Franc Fernandez, Gary Card, Maison Martin Margiela, Miguel Villalobos, Oscar O Lima, Zaldy Goco
  • Guitar – Adam Smirnoff
  • Drums – Charles Haynes
  • Keyboards – Pete Kuzma
  • Keytar – Lady Gaga
  • Keyboards/Bass – Mitch Cohn
Revised shows (2010–11)
  • Musical Director – Joe "Flip" Wilson
  • Set Design – Roy Bennett
  • Set built – Tait Towers
  • Set Sculptures – Nick Knight and Kevin Stenning
  • Costume Design – Haus of Gaga with Giorgio Armani, Miuccia Prada, Philip Treacy, Charlie le Mindu, Jaiden rVa James, Rachel Barrett, Gary Card, Keko Hainswheeler, Atsuko Kudo, Alex Noble, Zaldy Goco, Alun Davies, Marko Mitanovski, Alexander McQueen, NOKI
  • Keyboards – Brockett Parsons
  • Electric Violin – Judy Mickey Kang
  • Drums – George "Spanky" McCurdy
  • Bass – Lanar “Kern” Brantley
  • Guitars – Ricky Tillo, Kareem Devlin
  • Harp – Rashida Jolley
  • Emma – Lady Gaga (in "The Fame")
  • Keytar – Lady Gaga (in "Money Honey")
  • Backing Vocals – Posh, Charity Davis, Ameera Perkins, Lenesha Randolph, Taneka Samone Duggan, Chevonne Ianuzzi, Jasmine Morrow

Credits and personnel as per The Monster Ball Tour (original and revised show) booklets.

See also

  • List of highest-grossing concert tours

References

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